This article concerns the study of power and space within the Archbishop's Palace in Trondheim and, in particular, how the structure and organization of the precinct in the late medieval period formed a medium through which the archbishop's powers were exercised. Its aim is to explore the ways in which the spatial patterning of occupation, as revealed by the recent excavations in the palace, can cast light on the articulation of the archbishop's wealth, status and authority during the turbulent period prior to the Reformation.
The theoretical starting point is a reformulation of Michael Mann's theory of social power and Anthony Giddens's concept of ‘locale’ within a Marxist framework. It is suggested that, in the historical context of the crisis of Scandinavian feudalism, the palace at Trondheim became the focus for overlapping networks of ideological, economic, military and political power. These developments were expressed through the reorganization of the architectural space and the construction of a series of workshop complexes within the walled precinct between c. AD 1500 and 1537. By analysing the archaeological evidence for craft production, in particular minting, this paper considers how the palace formed a locale for the interaction of a specific set of social relations. It consequently examines some of the processes underpinning the expansion of the archbishop's power during the late medieval period, and discusses the social dynamics behind the conflict between the Church and the centralizing, Protestant-leaning forces of the Danish-Norwegian state.